Friday, December 26, 2008

Welcome to Our World


So on December 23rd at approximately 11:39 PM, Joanna Hope Jones explosively entered our world! She weighed 6 lbs. 15.8 oz, and was 19.5 inches long (so two ounces more than her brother, but an inch shorter). We got to bring her (and her tired and sore mommy) home from the hospital on Christmas morning! Talk about a Christmas present! :)
The contractions started on Monday the 22nd around 6 PM. They weren't terribly regular, but they were painful, so we fully expected to be making a trip to the hospital sometime that night or early the next day, especially when the contractions kept going through the night (false labor would normally stop with a change in position). I was able to get _some_ sleep, but not a whole lot. I already had an appointment scheduled, so we dropped AJ off with a friend for the day and went to get checked out. I was 3cm dilated, ~70% effaced, and the baby was at about -2 station - so not exactly ready to go, but progress from the week before. They sent us home with the expectation that they'd be seeing us again later that day.
We went over to the local mall for a little walking. After a lap on each level, my contractions were around 4 minutes apart and lasting almost a minute each (we were told to call when they were 5 min apart and 1 min duration for at least an hour). So we went home for a quick nap, expecting to go to the hospital very shortly thereafter.
By the time we got home, the contractions had spaced out to 8-10 minutes, and eventually I was able to sleep for at least 45 minutes! So I took a walk, trying to get them to speed up again. But it was like 20 below and getting dark, so we went to another mall for more walking. Keep in mind that by the time we got to this second mall, I'd been having painful contractions for 24 hours. As I was quickly nearing "the wall," we began attempting to call the midwives to see if what they would recommend. Unfortunately, their phone system hadn't been switched for the night, so I couldn't get the after-hours number. Fortunately, we've got friends who use this same practice. Unfortunately, they were in Buffalo. But thanks to the glory of cell phones, we were eventually able to get in touch with them and get the after-hours number.
VNB dropped me by a door (of the second mall) and went to park while I walked toward the food court. It's one of those "Mills" malls, so it's big, but I was only part of a "neighborhood" away from the food court when VNB dropped me off. Still, by the time I'd reached the food court, I couldn't go any further (mostly my hips just couldn't take any more, but I was also hardly able to stand during the contractions). VNB managed to get a hold of the midwives, and they agreed that I could come into get checked, but couldn't promise that they would keep me, and wouldn't agree to induce me (they were _really_ busy). So we headed out to the hospital.
By the time I got to the car, contractions were fast and furious (~3 min apart). The minute I sat down in the car, the contractions spaced out again. But "the wall" had been reached. I'd been in labor for over 24 hours at that point, and the end seemed no closer than before.
We got to the hospital and they started checking us in around 8. The midwife checked me around 8:30-ish and I was at 4 cm, ~70%, and the baby was at -1 station. That was enough progress that she was willing to keep me, which was a good thing because I think I would have completely lost it emotionally if they'd sent us home. We got settled and the contractions continued and got steadily more painful.
A little before 11, they had to hook me back up to the monitors for a few minutes, so I got back on the bed. The contractions were more manageable when I was on my side, so I spent most of the time that way. While I was hooked up, the midwife checked me again. Since the time between 4 cm and baby had been by far the longest part of labor with AJ, we weren't expecting much. VNB planned on taking a nap if he could unless I was up to 7 or 8 cm.
I was at 7 or 8 cm, much to everyone's surprise. The midwife warned me that those last couple of centimeters usually take a while and are relatively painful, but that I was doing a great job and was handling things just fine. She walked out the door probably around 11. The very next contraction, I felt an overwhelming urge to push.
Knowing that I'd _just_ measured at 7-8, I thought maybe it was a fluke, so I didn't say anything. But I felt it again the next time and even though it seemed crazy, I said the only word I could manage - "push." That got everyone's attention. The labor and delivery nurse took a minute to assess the situation, but quickly realized I meant it and yelled out the door for someone to get the midwife. While we were waiting for the midwife, they told me not to push, but there was very little I could do to stop it.
The midwife came back in and got ready to check me again, but I couldn't get myself from my side to my back so that she could. They kept trying to get me _not_ to push, but I couldn't _not_ push, so she gave up on checking me and switched to "lets have a baby" mode. About that time, my water finally broke. It was a good thing too, because within a push or two after they'd dropped the bed and gotten me to finally roll over, VNB said something I didn't expect to hear for a long while yet - "they've got a full head of hair!" About that same time, the L&D nurse said that I was crowning. I hardly believed them since it had taken 40 of the 45 minutes of pushing with AJ to get him to that point.
Then, a couple of pushes later, little Joanna gave the nurses another surprise by coming out, head, shoulders, and most of the amniotic fluid in one, explosive burst. They were laughing afterward about wishing they'd worn shoe covers.
So with minimal tearing, and a lot of thankfulness that they kept me at the hospital when we came in, Joanna Hope was born at 11:39 PM. Just in time for her mama to get her Christmas wish - not to be in labor on Christmas or Christmas Eve. :)
Big brother AJ met her the next morning and did great with her. In fact, he only cried when VNB took her _away_ from him.
And other than last night's traditional late night Mylecon run, she's been doing great since we came home Christmas morning. Like her brother before her, she's an expert nurser, and her mama is doing surprisingly well. I mean, I still hurt and all, but the healing process has been _much_ faster than with AJ already.
So that's her story! I can't explain how relieved I am to not be pregnant anymore. With AJ, I had severe indigestion which ended the moment he exited my body. This time around it was the nausea that blessedly left the moment Joanna came out. Brushing my teeth doesn't make me gag anymore! Woohoo!
I'll post more pics one of these days. In the meantime, find VNB's facebook account. He's got pics there.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Two From Galilee

For those of you who didn't get to see our musical this past weekend, here're a few highlights of what you missed. It's almost 10 minutes long, so be prepared. You get to see parts of VNB's big number (he's the one in the purple with the sword) about halfway through.

I'm the really fat one.

Can't Sleep

So yet again, I can't get to sleep to save my life. Dunno what the problem is, but I'm sure I'll be sorry for it tomorrow. I even waited to go to bed this time until I was nodding a bit on the couch. But the second I hit those sheets, I'm wide awake.

So you get an update. We finally picked out baby names today, I think. VNB is so sure it's a girl that he left the boy name completely up to me. And since AJ's middle name was determined at the beginning to be his middle name (and his father's and grandfather's), he only picked the first name for a girl and I picked the middle name.

So except for the house that got hit by a "stuff bomb" over the weekend, I think we're pretty much ready to go. The stuff bomb was a direct result of re-arranging our bedroom to make room for the pack 'n' play for the baby to sleep in until we figure out how to make us all fit better. We got most of the major furniture back in Friday night when we re-arranged, but all the random stuff from all over the room is still mostly all over the rest of our house right now. I'll definitely finish getting that cleaned up tomorrow though (well, the stuff I can actually lift) since we're supposed to go see a show with my aunt and will have a babysitter over. It's really only clutter, toys, and a load of dishes at this point, but it seems like so much more since we've got such a small space.

The remaining things on my list of "things to do before the baby gets here" mostly pertain to Christmas presents. And I'm pretty sure that our family would forgive us if we were a little late on the presents this year. Something about providing them with a second grandchild/niece or nephew...that should be enough for one Christmas, imo.

Anyway, the musical went well. VNB did a great job, and I managed to waddle my way through.

But we're definitely in the home stretch with this little one. So very different from those last few weeks with AJ when we were trying to get him to turn over by every means possible. I can see the attraction to planned inductions and cesareans since this waiting is so hard to do. But at the same time, it's far healthier for the baby to come whenever s/he is ready...I just wish I knew whether or not I need to get a "baby's first Christmas" ornament. :)

Friday, December 12, 2008

My Little Helper

So one of the first things I did during this horrific pregnancy was teach AJ to pick things up for me. It took a few months, but I can pretty reliably say "AJ, would you pick that up for Mama, please?" and have him actually do it in a relatively timely fashion. He's also started enjoying putting things in the trash...and only occasionally digs things _out_ of the trash.

Anyway, a few weeks ago he did something that completely shocked the socks off of me. I was folding laundry and had left a pile of clothes for the baby on the coffee table for sorting into types and sizes. It had been there a couple of days when it got knocked off into the floor sometime that I wasn't in the room. That didn't surprise me at all (well, I was a _little_ surprised that it took a couple of days). What surprised me was that as I was walking into the room, without saying anything about it or even looking upset about it, AJ started picking up the clothes and putting them in a pile on the table. And he kept going until all of the clothes were picked up. No one asked him to, he just did it. I think I nearly cried.

Then just now, I was finishing up the water in a water bottle in order to keep the vultures from backwashing into it (the vultures in this case would be AJ). When I finished, he fussed a tiny bit that he hadn't gotten any, then took the bottle, I assumed to play with it. He then proceeded to the kitchen where I heard a cabinet open and close. A minute later, he was back in the living room with me, but without the bottle. It was then I realized that he'd thrown the bottle away for me. Now, I fully expect to have to fish it out of the trash to put it in the recycling...but such independence! Such understanding of the situation! Such a continuation of the Turner and Jones tradition of just doing what needs to be done without having to be told exactly what to do!

I was (am) so proud of him! As he came back into the room, I asked him if he'd thrown the bottle away and he nodded and smiled. I grabbed him and hugged him and told him what a good boy he is, what a good helper he is!

It's amazing to me to see him grow so much. I remember how little he used to be - the lump of not sleepingness he used to be. He's so creative in his play (anything can become either a phone or a hat, and many things that one would never anticipate can become train tracks). And when he's play talking on the phone, he actually has pretend conversations. When he drops practically anything, but especially one of his trains, he picks it up, looks it in the "face," and asks if it's alright. He even "reads" books to himself sometimes.

I'm just amazed by this little person who gestated inside of me for close to 9 months. It's hard to imagine that lightning could strike twice to give us another one as amazing...but at the same time, it's hard to imagine that this new little one could be anything but amazing him or herself.

But here's hoping that s/he is a better sleeper. :)

Lost and Found

So Tuesday night we had dress rehearsal for our musical. Just in case we had to make a speedy exit from the stage due to the baby, I had everything in my basket that I was going to need to leave quickly - a towel to clean up any mess on-stage, antacids (those are a necessity anywhere I go, hospital or not), snacks, my glasses, my cell phone, and my wallet.

When we were packing up to go home, I was transferring all of my necessities back to my purse so that I could leave the basket at church. That was the last time I remember seeing my wallet.

There wasn't any cash in it, but there were credit cards, my drivers license, insurance cards for me and AJ (which the hospital will want to see), and over $90 in gift cards! It's really hard to buy Christmas presents when you have no credit cards or gift cards. And while I had my insurance ID number, the hospital says that they want a copy of the card. You'd hope they'd be as reasonable as possible with a woman in labor, but you never know.

Since the last time I remembered seeing it was in my basket at church, I was _really_ hoping it was still there. Well, at last night's dress rehearsal, I discovered that it wasn't. Do you know how hard it is to admit to your husband that not only have you lost your entire wallet, but you did it two days ago and didn't say anything until now because you were hoping it wasn't really lost? Amazingly (and thankfully), he didn't freak out too much. I looked some more when we got home last night and had plans to ask AJ this morning since he likes to take things out of my purse (although usually when he takes my wallet, every single thing in it gets spread all over the place, so it's a "little" hard to miss). I asked him if he knew what Mama's wallet was when he woke up and the answer I got was "Tha?" (i.e., Thomas? Meaning that he wanted to watch Thomas.). No help there. So I looked (and prayed) a little more.

A day or two ago, one of our multitude of remotes had managed to fall, not just between the couch and an end table (in a nearly unreachable spot), but actually slid _under_ the end table, so I hoped against hope that maybe my wallet had fallen under there too. I'd checked multiple times under the couch, so I focused my search on the end table, but to get to the end table, I had to move the couch a little (it's very light and I didn't lift it, I just slid it across our Pergo, so don't yell at me). I cleaned out the random detrius that was living under the end table, but no wallet. As I lay there on the floor, disappointed, I turned my head the other way trying not to cry...and there it was. Under the couch I'd checked under multiple times already.

Al hamdoolillah!

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Dreaming for Two

So I've never been much of a dreamer in the sense that I never used to remember my dreams after I woke up. It was such that prior to just before I got married, I could remember remembering a total of about five dreams in my life, three of which occurred just before I came back from overseas. In fact, when I then started vividly dreaming on a semi-regular basis shortly thereafter, every dream, no matter how innocuous, seemed like a nightmare to me because they were so unusual.

Eventually I got more used to them and they stopped occurring quite so frequently, so they didn't freak me out as much. Anyway, one of the side-effects of pregnancy is vivid dreams. And let me tell you, I've had some wham-dingers recently. Very detailed, always involving real people and elaborate situations.

Two nights ago, I dreamed that some malevolent political force was taking over America and in the process causing all sorts of natural disasters (many having to do with water or flooding - so either Freud is giggling, or I've got "breaking waters" on my brain). In the process of trying to escape from the political situation, I ended up being part of a little band of people (the "freedom fighters" in whatever movie/TV script you want to emulate, but before they had organized and actually fought back). Oddly, I wasn't at all one of their leaders, I just ended up with their group (and I should mention that all of this apparently took place on University of Maryland's campus - at least, that's where my brain said it was, but the scenery didn't really match any of MD's campus - you know how that goes). Anyway, I was just as pregnant as I am now (at least at the very end), but somehow I managed to run and climb to get away from the floods and giant crashing waves. And it ended with me finding VNB (also with the freedom fighters). I didn't even know throughout the dream that I was looking for him, but when I found him, I knew I was safe and everything was going to be just fine.

Sweet, huh? Man of my dreams apparently (not that I wouldn't have said that before now, it's just both figuratively _and_ literally true now).

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Making VNB's Day

So VNB and I have a standing "feud" over the color that Christmas tree lights should be. I'm an all white girl, he's a multi-colored guy. For the past few years, as we've been learning each others' Christmas preferences and traditions (like you actually put small gifts _in_ the stockings (for me) and there's a train around the bottom of the tree (for him)), I've always won for the light color, primarily because a) I was the one that put them up (and/or purchased the replacement strands), and b) we had _far_ more white lights than we had colored.

But my white light strands have been dying slowly, but surely. Our plan was to replace each strand with LED strands as they died. That way we wouldn't have to make a huge investment in the expensive lights any one year, but we've eventually only have LED lights. But by the time we got lights on our tree last year, all of the stores were completely out of anything but outdoor LED nets. So, last year we made do with a bunch of half-working strands, then threw out anything that wasn't working completely when we put them away. This year we made it to the store a _little_ sooner (or they just had more this year), but they still didn't have the type of lights I would have preferred (small, white, non-faceted).

But beggars can't be choosers, so I did the best I could - large, faceted, white indoor-outdoor bulbs. I figured I'd put those on the inside of the tree and the little strands on the outside. Plus, with the larger bulbs, we wouldn't need as many lights so I could buy fewer strands. And my plan was working like a charm until I plugged in the first strand of the regular bulbs. That's when I made my discovery - LED "white" is a very different shade of white from that of regular bulb "white." And while shades of multi-colored lights wouldn't matter, shades of only white lights would look HORRIBLE.

So, as VNB will discover when he gets home from our dress rehearsal tonight, this year we have a compromise tree - five strands of large white LED bulbs, and two strands of small colored LED bulbs (that we bought last year for some reason I can't for the life of me remember). We could stand to get a few more of the colored strands to fill it out better, but it'll do for now.

Now I just have to find our garland and see if it works at all with colored lights. Unfortunately, I think it's in the china cabinet which currently has the dining room table pushed up against it (with all the chairs on top) to make room for the tree. The joys of a tiny house. And lack of forethought.

Monday, December 08, 2008

Measuring Small...Again...Some More...

So with AJ, I measured consistently small for the last few months (by "measuring small" I mean that they measure the "fundal height" of my uterus (from my pelvic bone to the top of my uterus) while I'm lying on a table. The measurement is supposed to roughly equal (in cm.) the number of weeks gestation I am). With him, it was only a cm or two, it was consistent, and it was because he was breech. Apparently breech babies take up less space. This time around, when I've measured small (which has happened randomly throughout the pregnancy), I've measured _WAY_ small. They sent me for a sonogram to check on things a couple of months back and Baby was fine, just 35th percentile for weight/size. That's small, but not abnormally so. And I'm all for birthing small babies. I even had an above average amount of amniotic fluid.

Well, I'm just over 38 weeks today and at my appointment, I measured 29 cm.!!!! That definitely concerned the midwife some (although Baby's moving around plenty (still trying to escape through my belly button) and the heartbeat was strong), so she sent me for another sonogram. Baby still measures fine (and is _DEFINITELY_ head down this time!!!! Woohoo!!!!), and my fluid is on the low side of normal, but still well within the normal range.

So apparently this baby is going to be able to fit easily into small spaces. Maybe s/he will be the next Houdini. It's interesting though because my lung capacity doesn't seem affected, my bladder doesn't seem overly affected, and the indigestion has actually gotten better lately. So somehow, this little one has managed to squish my organs less, grow normally, and _still_ seem small from the outside.

Big things come in small packages?

And for those of you who want these types of details, ~1cm, 50%, and -2. If you don't know what those numbers mean, you probably don't _want_ to know.

Our hope for the week is that baby waits until at least Sunday night. It's not _that_ big a deal for me to miss the musical (performances are Saturday and Sunday at 6 - Saturday's a dinner theater though, so dinner starts at 6 and costs $10 - see here for details), but VNB is one of the principal characters and would be very torn/distracted if I were in labor during the show. Even if it were only early labor. And it would be hard for him to be gone from one of the dress rehearsals this week...so it'd really just be best to wait till next week. That's closer to the due date anyway.

Thursday, December 04, 2008

Confirmation :(

So I wasn't exactly holding my breath any longer, but I now have "official-ish" confirmation that I didn't make it into the "highly qualified" group of folks applying to be an astronaut this time around. :( One of the people on the astronaut hopefuls Yahoo! group got an email from one of the people in the selection office saying that the "highly qualified" would have their references checked and be sent the medical forms that they needed by the end of November.

So, I was "qualified" (which I knew already), but not "highly qualified" this time around. :( Oh well. The good thing is that life definitely doesn't end for me with not making it this time. VNB and I were discussing a few weeks ago how difficult it would be for both of us if we had to switch roles (me going back to working full-time and him becoming a stay-at-home daddy). As much as I want to be an astronaut (and I really, really do), I just don't like commuting and dressing up for work...and it's not that VNB's not completely capable of doing it (heck, he'd probably do a far better job than I do), but I would have a really hard time letting go of being the primary keeper of the home and kids. And as willing as he is to support me in my lifelong dream of becoming an astronaut and would never do anything to stand in the way of that...he'd have a really hard time not being the primary breadwinner and staying home most of the time. I'm a hermit and an introvert, so that doesn't bother me at all, but while he needs his "alone" time, he also needs more social interaction than I do.

But even more than just the torn feelings we were both having about it right now, I can already say that God has given me more than I could ever ask or imagine. I've already got the icing on my cake. Getting to be an astronaut too would be like extra decorations or sprinkles or something. Maybe fruit in the icing between layers. I dunno...just something extra extra that would fit with that metaphor - but definitely nothing that is necessary for life to be wonderful, because it's already that.

But who knows what'll happen the next time around! :)

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

I Just Don't Get It

So we've gotten multiple calls over the past year or so for Leia "NotJones(orTurner)" and one just now for VNB "NotJones." It just doesn't make sense to me. I understand that collection agencies are struggling to find people who legitimately owe them money, but it would seem to me that it would be far more efficient to randomly troll phone books by _LAST_ name rather than first name.

Now, perhaps they've already gone through all of the phone numbers associated with the correct first and last name and now they're looking for alternatives, but somehow I doubt it. The conspiracy theorist in me thinks that they do it on purpose just to annoy me.

But at least this one was nice about it and just asked politely to verify the number he called so that it could be taken off their list. I've had others in the past give me the third degree to make sure I wasn't lying to them about my last name.

I just don't get it.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Oh Well...

So Saturday I had a MOPS steering team meeting from 9AM until 12:30PM (and I had to leave my house at around 8:30). I then had half an hour to go to the grocery store to get a salad before I had to be at my baby shower (which was awesome, btw!). That lasted until just after 3. It was at church, as was my next engagement, so I helped clean up and hung out until about 4. So then I did my normal Saturday afternoon Amplified rehearsal and service (Amplified is our new-ish "rock 'n roll" worship service at our church - try us out at 6 PM on Saturdays). Then, I went to pick up my mom from a friend's house and ended up staying for dinner and chatting until about 9:30. So after having left at about 8:30 AM, I got home a little after 10PM. It took me a little bit to settle down and I know I checked email and stuff...but it didn't occur to me until about 2:30 AM (shortly after VNB's coughing had woken me up and I was completely unable to get back to sleep) that I'd forgotten to post on Saturday.

And when I knew I was out, I didn't really stress about posting on Sunday (which consisted of church, lunch, a child-free shopping trip, musical rehearsal, dinner, and then "catching" up 0n email (I didn't make a whole lot of headway, although I'm also not terribly behind right now), so it's not like I had a whole lot of time yesterday either).

But really, even though I've washed out yet again from NaBloPoMo, I'm really gonna try to post more. I swear. And even post pictures of AJ for my favorite father-in-law (among other people).

But next year. Really. I'll make it.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Critique of "Thomas and the Magic Railway"

So the little man is a "wee bit" Thomas the Tank Engine happy. He loooooooves his "Ta" and asks to watch him daily. We've gotten into the habit of watching some Thomas when AJ wakes up from his nap (he often wakes up extra cranky and this helps alleviate that somewhat - plus I'm just a sucker).

So usually the conversation goes like this:
Me: Hey Buddy! That was a good (short, long, whatever) nap!
AJ: Ta? (pointing to nothing in particular and vigorously nodding his head "yes")
Me: You want to watch Thomas?
AJ: (emphatically) Ta. (With a continuation of the vehement head nodding)
Me: Which Thomas would you like to watch? (We have episodes TiVoed in addition to this movie and a couple DVDs of episodes)
AJ: Rar-rar. (Still nodding)
Me: Ok.
AJ: Yay! (At which point he usually runs into the living room and climbs up onto the couch)

So I've seen "Thomas and the Magic Railway" a 'couple' of times now ("rar-rar" refers to the story's antagonist "Diesel 10" a mean diesel engine with a claw (named "Pinchy") attached to the top of him).

It stars Alec Baldwin (I'd love to know if this was pre or post horrific voicemail for his daughter), Peter Fonda, and the girl from Mathilda, except as a pre-teen (still has the slight lisp and chubby cheeks, but they're not quite as cutesy anymore). If you've never seen this delightful piece of straight-to-DVD movie-dom...well, consider yourself lucky. I have a few issues with it which I would like to elaborate on today.

In roughly chronological order:
1) Lily (Mathilda, and Peter Fonda's character's granddaughter) is sent on a train to go see her grandfather. She apparently has been given no instruction as to how to determine her correct train because as she comes down the steps into the station _alone_ (Are you kidding me? You'd just drop your 12-yr-old off at the train station and drive off? My mom doesn't do that and I'm 32!), she decides to ask a _DOG_ if he knows which train she's supposed to get on. He barks and leads the way to the wrong train (track 3 vs. 4 - which are clearly marked overhead) and she FOLLOWS! A DOG! And assumes that a random DOG she's never seen before knows which train she's supposed to be getting on. And never double checks the track number. And no one on the train seems to care that she's got a ticket for a different train because when she arrives at the wrong station, she's surprised. Every time I get to this point in the story and Lily says "why not?" to the implied question of should she follow the random DOG, I yell at the screen "BECAUSE HE'S A DOG!!" Every day. She never listens.
2) "Patch" (random sidekick kid) tells Lily's grandfather (Peter Fonda) that he found the entrance to his workshop "ages ago" but has somehow never seen the full-size train engine that FILLS UP THE ROOM.
3) Then, after having her necessary exposition with Junior (the "rogue with a heart of gold") at the wrong station (apparently the random dog knew this was necessary for the story, hence leading Lily to the wrong train in the first place), the station manager comes up to Lily and asks if she's Lily. Now, granted, she's in a Station Manager's uniform and she both knows the child's name and that she was supposed to have met her grandfather at another station...but when she says that she'll drive her over to meet Peter Fonda, Lily jumps up and gets into a complete stranger's car. Um...now Peter Fonda's character is supposed to be very sad and "never goes to Shining Time Station anymore," but your granddaughter who is coming to visit for the first time since her Grandmother died (the main reason he's so sad) got to the wrong station and you're going to let her get into a stranger's car instead of coming to get her yourself? I mean, I'm ok with him being sad, but that's just irresponsible.
4) The next day, Lily meets "Patch" who takes her back to Shining Time Station (with her grandfather's permission and explicit instruction that she be back by sundown). Patch apparently just drops her off at the (empty) station and goes about his business because Lily again meets Junior who invites her to go to the Island of Sodor with him.

So let's recount...by this point in the story, Lily has allowed a dog to pick which train she's gonna get on, gotten into the car of a complete stranger, and now has gone with another complete stranger (who's also like 6" tall) to a place she's never heard of before. Sure, he tells her it's a magical place, but I would imagine that a lot of pedophiles and kidnappers say similar things.
5) When "Patch" (poor kid never gets a real name) comes back without Lily (because she's stuck on the Island of Sodor), her grandfather's reaction is literally "that's ok." Granted, when she _does_ show back up the next day, he's very relieved, but dude...call the police or at least _act_ concerned.
6) And speaking of Peter Fonda's acting. Now, I've never seen him in anything else before, but one just assumes that being from the fabled Fonda family that he can act at least a little. And I know that his character was probably described as "extremely sad" or some such single-dimensional description, but he has ZERO inflection in his tone and has a completely relaxed/depressed face until almost the very end when they get Lady (the magic engine they're trying to save) running again. Then he's almost all smiles (so again, one-dimensional).
7) You really need to have seen the movie for my final criticism, but I'll try to explain briefly the storyline. Mr. Conductor (Alec Baldwin - who I would describe as possibly 2-dimensional to Peter Fonda's 1-dimensional portrayal...so better, but still not exactly good) needs gold dust to move from Shining Time Station to the Island of Sodor because Lady (the magic engine) disappeared years ago and she was the only other way to travel between the two. But after years of unnecessary use (he's standing next to Thomas at one point and uses his gold dust to disappear and reappear inside Thomas - literally saving himself like four steps), he's almost out of gold dust. So he spends the movie searching for how to get more gold dust (Lady makes swirls that have to get mixed with water, as we find out later). After Lily, Patch, and Peter Fonda figure out how to make Lady go again (using Sodor coal instead of real world coal), they go back to Sodor and have to escape from Diesel 10. As they're escaping, Mr. Conductor tells Junior that life is still over for them, Sodor, and apparently the real world (Shining Time) too since they're still out of gold dust. Now, I thought they needed the gold dust only because Lady was missing. They'd found her, so why do they still need gold dust so desperately (except to continue their laziness)? I just don't understand.

So anyway. This is my life almost daily (and these are the things I think about). And then at night when I can't sleep, guess what goes through my head? Songs from this dag-blamed movie.

At least I've instituted a "once per day" policy.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

In the Stillness of Naptime...

That sounds like a poem title that they'd make you read in high school.

But instead of a poem, you get my random stream of consciousness again...

So last night I filled up the car with gas. At $1.75 a gallon (minus our 5% discount for using the Shell card at the Shell station, which I would highly recommend). The thing is, I remember exactly when gas got to be $1.75 in the first place (i.e., the last time it was that "cheap"). I went on a trip to Nigeria with some folks from church back before VNB and I were married. When we left, gas was an "astronomical" $1.50-ish. When we got back, it had "skyrocketed" up to $1.75 and we were all shocked at the change in price in so short a time period. This was late August of 2005 and Hurricane Katrina might have been building in the Atlantic at the time. So anyway, it's been over three years since gas was this cheap. Just thought you'd like to know.

Yesterday I also was sent another rumor on the astronaut hopefuls email list. This time, someone had heard from someone who'd actually talked to someone in the selection office that if the references hadn't been contacted by now, they weren't gonna be and therefore I'm not in the "highly qualified" group this time around. But they'd also heard from people close to the selection office that references might be contacted throughout the interview process (which ends in January). I'm still gonna keep checking the mail through Thanksgiving, but I'm pretty sure I didn't make the cut this time around. :( Oh well, the only people I know of who got picked on their first try are the Mercury 7. Granted, I haven't done _any_ research in that regard, but it makes me feel better.

Heh....so much for the "stillness of naptime." He took forever to actually go to sleep, but he woke up right when he normally does (lately anyway). And he's quiet again. Yay for dozing back off!

And he's crying again...

And quiet...

Anyway, and I found out this morning that my mom's gonna be able to come into town for the weekend (which happens to also be my baby shower)! She's coming tomorrow night and staying through Wednesday afternoon! Woohoo! I planned the date of my wedding shower so that both my folks and my (future) in-laws could be there...which happened to be a date that almost no one else could come. My in-laws made it to AJ's baby shower, but it was looking like this was going to be a "friends only" shower this time around. So yay for my Mommy!

So two nights ago I got into bed probably around 10...and by midnight had given up on getting to sleep, so I got back up and piddled around until 2. At which point I slept pretty well until VNB's alarm went off, then slept again until AJ woke up. Last night I got to sleep around 11:30 or 12 and slept until 2:45 when I woke up thirsty. Getting up to get a drink (and go to the bathroom and eat a few more tums) woke me up enough that I couldn't get back to sleep. I kept trying until 4 when I gave up again. I stayed up until VNB's alarm went off (5-ish), then crawled back into bed as he was in the midst of his morning "hit the snooze button several times" routine. I remember him getting into the shower, but not out, so I slept from about 5:20 until AJ woke up right around 8. The last two days, I've almost actually napped while AJ did (I actually put the computer down and closed my eyes and did my best to get comfortable, which is impossible at this point and one of the main reasons that I'm not sleeping). Today, despite being just absolutely wiped out, I stayed awake. Hopefully I'll be so exhausted by bedtime that I'll conk right out and sleep through till morning (yeah, right...that's what I thought _last_ night). I really don't mind the lack of sleep so much as I mind the extra queasiness that goes along with it. I'm really tired of being sick.

So woohoo for being "full term" on Saturday!

Ok...that's it...he's asking to get out of his crib now. I have to stop pretending to ignore it.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

For the In-Laws (and Everyone Else)

Pics from our relatively recent trip to the Nashville Zoo:








Yes, I know he's the absolutely most adorable little man on the face of the planet. And no, I'm not biased at all. Really.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Dum De Dum...

I've made it 18 days so far without forgetting to post each day. There's not really anything for me to say today, but I've gotta post something.

So there are, what? 12 days more to go?

Let's see...what can I tell you?

Um....someone posted a list of the disciplines of people they're interviewing to be astronauts to the astronaut hopefuls listserv. They're sending out requests for references in these groupings. And if the list was correct not only in its constituents, but also in its order, then my discipline is dead last (woohoo). Meaning that my references will be contacted last. Meaning that I still might have to wait a while. The initial rumor was that if we hadn't heard anything by Thanksgiving, then we didn't need to hope any longer. Now the rumor is that they might be contacting references as late as January. I'm putting more stock in the first rumor though because that one was based on multiple conversations with folks from the selection office. This second one seems to be supposition.

And I picked up our Operation Christmas Child boxes from the church today. Our MOPS group organized all the logistics for the church and wrapped most of the boxes (not to mention filling a few). When we reached our deadline for bringing in empty boxes for wrapping (early October), we had approximately 50. In the few weeks after the official deadline, we got approximately 30 more. Those have been trickling back in for the past few weeks and I picked them up today since they were overflowing in the church office. We didn't count as we packed the car, but I know there were more than we wrapped. And what didn't seem like that many the last time I checked the office completely filled the empty spaces in my Escape. The only places right now that aren't completely packed with shoe boxes are AJ's car seat and the driver's seat. We've even got most of the backseat folded down. I still have a clear line of sight out the back window, so I _suppose_ we could have packed more in, but really, not that many. VNB's going to drop them off at the collection center tomorrow since there's one near his work. Hopefully they'll count them there to see how we did. Makes me proud.

Anyway...that's enough blather for the day.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Toddler Lounge Chair

So my in-laws have been storing our rear-facing baby seat for us since AJ stopped needing it. Since Baby will need it soon, we brought it back with us last weekend when we visited. My original plan was to just go ahead and hook it into the car so that AJ could get used to it being there, but then I remembered that I was in charge of getting all of my church's Operation Christmas Child boxes to the collection center this week. Since that'll take up all of our trunk space and then some, we didn't install the seat and today I got the last of the remnants from our trip (and things since) out of the car.

One of the first things I brought in was the car seat. AJ seemed to recognize it, so I asked him if he remembered sitting in it when he was a baby. When I finished bringing everything in, AJ pointed to the seat and asked "Baby?" To which I replied that, yes, the baby was going to sit in the seat. Then he looked like he wanted to climb in, so I helped him in and handed him his snack bowl. Now it's sitting in the chair with his snacks on his lap like it's a lounge chair, watching Thomas. Except for it being reclined a bit more than he'd seem to like (he sits up occasionally), he really seems to like it. Hopefully he won't mind sharing with the baby.

Heh...he just handed me his empty snack bowl and asked for more raisins. I'm not sure he can get out.

Well, I was going to upload a picture of him sitting in it, but while my camera knows that it's connected to the computer, the computer can't seem to see the camera. Sorry!

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Do you ever...

Do you ever just get the urge to jump up on a stage and start belting out the opening song from Meredith Willson's "The Music Man?"

"Oh, there's nothin' halfway about the Iowa way to greet you, when we greet you, which we may not do at all. There's an Iowa kind, a special chip-on-the-shoulder attitude we've never been without that we recall. We can be cold as the falling thermometer in December if you ask about our weather in July. And we're so by-God stubborn we can stand touching noses for a week at a time and never see eye to eye.

But we'll give you our shirt and our backs to go with it if your crops should happen to die.

But what the heck, you're welcome. Join us at the picnic. You can have your fill of all the food you bring yourself. You really ought to give Iowa, hawkeye Iowa. Debuque, Des Moines, Davenport, Marshalltown, Mason City, Keokuk, Ames, Clear Lake. Ought to give Iowa a try."

That song has been permanently emblazoned on my mind since my freshman year in high school when we did it at my school. I was "woman #2" who says, "I haven't seen any uniform, or my boy either, since just after supper!" I put more emotion into that one line than most people put into...I dunno...a lot of things.

Anyway, I've had this urge to get up and sing this song at one of our Christmas musical rehearsals for a couple of weeks now. I just thought you'd like to know.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Waaaaaaay Too Early

So lately, I've slept pretty well from the time I get to sleep (depends on when I go to bed, but usually somewhere between 9:30 and midnight) until about 20 minutes prior to VNB's alarm going off (around 5:15 on weekdays). Then I'm cognizant enough of the fact that it's about to get kinda noisy for a little while (with alarm snoozes and then his shower) and usually just a touch queasy that it's hard for me to get back to sleep until after he leaves. Then I sleep until AJ wakes up, usually between 7 and 8 (although I don't go into his room to get him until at least 8).

Last night, VNB fell asleep on the couch with specific instructions that I _wasn't_ to wake him when I went to bed (he's got a cold and was sleeping off the store brand Nyquil), so I did something I only rarely do. I read a book in bed before I fell asleep. Which meant that I was up later than normal (I probably turned off the light sometime after midnight). Then I was either still awake when VNB came to bed, or that woke me back up. Then I woke up around 6:30, wide awake.

That's just wrong on a Saturday morning. Granted, VNB has someplace to be shortly, so it's not like I was gonna get to sleep in today, but still.

In any case, not being at all sleepy and being a little bit queasy, I got up and did what any pregnant woman would do. I went to the bathroom, then I made myself a caffeine-free Coke with lime. Mmmmm...healthy breakfast. Hey...there's fruit in there. It's like it's a fruit smoothie, and everyone knows _those_ are healthy, right?

So in between getting VNB out the door (it's "build the set" day for our church's Christmas musical, plus he's got another trustee thing to do), I've just been sitting here, catching up on emails and watching the leaves fall from the trees behind our building. It's actually quite lovely.

And all of that together meant that you got a late posting last night and an early one this morning. Both about absolutely nothing. It's like a Seinfeld episode! Woohoo.

And the baby has his/her morning hiccups.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Almost Forgot...

I was just about to go to bed when I realized that I'd almost forgotten to post today. I keep waiting until the mail's come to see if there's anything exciting to report (nothing today, although I'm not sure how we got on Eddie Bauer's mailing list...wait...yes I am...we got an EB car seat...one of the great questions of the universe answered...)...anyway...so I wait and then almost forget to post for the day.

Arg...the baby has hiccups again. Somehow s/he is hiccuping on a nerve or something. Dude...that just feels weird.

Ok...off to bed for me and my hiccuping belly.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

JellyTelly

We're big fans of Big Idea Productions around here (VeggieTales, 3-2-1 Penguins, LarryBoy), so it should come as no surprise that we were excited to hear about Phil Vischer's latest venture - JellyTelly.

He explains it better than I will, but basically, they're trying to create a Christian version of the online content that websites such as Disney and Nickelodeon. In the process, he hopes to help encourage young Christian filmmakers by providing them a platform on which to show their work. It's a subscription service, but they let you try the first month for free and the base price thereafter is only $3 a month (although at least the original plan was to let you pay more if you wanted to support the ministry). You can do the free first month without giving them any information other than your name and email address.

They just started airing content this past week and today was our first time watching it. They have a mixture of puppets, animation, and live action. There's catchy music (today there was a song about the book of Judges, listing all of the judges in order), and lots of good, Biblically-based information. But more importantly, except for one clip which was just too far above his head, AJ was completely riveted.

Anyway, they're not paying or giving me anything to write this, it's just a great new source of online Christian content that I hope succeeds! Check it out!

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Unsubscribe All

So I get a good bit of junk email. I guess it's because of the surveys and whatnot that I give my info to, but I don't know who exactly is passing out my email address like it's going out of style. All I know is that it seems to have increased over the past few days and I think I have a conspiracy theory as to why. It goes like this:

1) Leia signs up for something which gives some company the opportunity to sell her email address to everyone and their brother.
2) Everyone and Their Brother, Inc. (henceforth ETBI) then sends Leia more junk mail than grains of sand exist in the universe.
3) Leia's Outlook kindly filters out approximately half of these (mostly the "I am Nigeria and must to send you money" emails).
4) Leia does the honorable thing and takes the time on the others to actually unsubscribe from the email lists of both the corporation in the advertisement itself and the _different_ corporation that sent it to her.
5) Leia then _blocks_ the sender (not that that matters all that much since they use a random email generation program to create the various email addresses that the emails are "from").
6) The various companies tell Leia that they have anywhere from 48 hrs to 10 days in which they "might" send her more emails.
7) ETBI and friends then put Leia on their "Spam-a-lot" lists for the maximum duration of their grace period so that her junk mail increases exponentially, making sure that they don't repeat email addresses just in case Leia has blocked them.

I mean, I get a good bit of email normally, but of the approximately 30 emails I've gotten so far today, roughly 15 of them have been complete junk that Outlook has failed to filter out. That means ~30 different times to unsubscribe, just in case it's a different company than it was yesterday.

I don't care how much Oprah loves it, I don't need any acai berries. We don't need help with our credit. I don't care which is better, Coke or Pepsi (because I've got familial obligations to say that Coke is better) and I'm not buying any of the things you need to buy in order to get the "free" laptop anyway, so it doesn't really matter. I'm not trying any of the amazing weight loss remedies you're selling right now or at any point in the foreseeable future. And I'm _certainly_ not going to "cleanse my colon" right now.

So internet conspiracy, I'm on to you. There's nothing I can do about you, but I'm on to you.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Dagnabbit

After my second trip out to the mailbox today, I realized that it's Veteran's Day and hence no mail. Dagnabbit. I mean, I'm extremely grateful to our veterans - I can't help but see a guy or gal in uniform (especially in pictures) and hope that it's one of my buddies from my time overseas. But did the USPS have to take today off too? Don't they know I'm waiting for important information? Do my needs mean nothing to them?

Oh...right...pseudo-governmental organization.

Does walking up the stairs twice (plus going to my appointment this morning) count as my exercise for the day? I think it should. Maybe my laziness has biased me.

Anyway, yay for our veterans ("Freedom is not free"). Boo USPS. And "Happy Birthday" (yesterday) to my little brother (yes I remembered to call him).

Randomness

So more stream of consciousness from me today...

I had my 34-week check-up this morning at which the midwife was pretty sure the baby was, indeed, head-down and ready to go! Woohoo! Now if the heartburn would just stop. And the itching. And, you know...everything else that's uncomfortable....and this would be a "normal" pregnancy finally. Actually, the heartburn, itching, and uncomfortableness _are_ "normal pregnancy" unfortunately. But I'm still waiting for that "glowy" feeling that pregnant mamas are supposed to have. You know, the joy of new life growing inside of me. I keep hearing that I'm supposed to feel that way. Maybe someone should mention that to my back. And my esophagus. And my skin. And everything else that hurts, itches, or is just uncomfortable in some way.

But I _do_ have to say that this definitely feels different than the end of AJ's pregnancy did. I didn't get the "about to drop a bowling ball" feeling until about five hours before he was born. This one still has about six weeks to go (or thereabouts) and I already feel that way whenever I stand up. It's a rather...interesting...sensation.

So I'm a member of all sorts of online survey sites and things of that nature in an attempt to make a couple of easy bucks here and there. So far I've probably made like $0.000000000000000005/hr that I've spent filling out surveys and the like (and that includes the $30 I got for showing up to an online focus group just barely in time, which meant that they were already full and I didn't have to do anything). But today there was a pleasant surprise from the UPS man - 54 Luvs diapers for us to test out. Considering that Luvs is our normal brand of choice anyway, they basically just gave us $10. And I didn't even know it was coming!

Now if NASA would just hop on that "unexpected surprise" bandwagon. The mail hadn't come when I checked around one Veggie Tales video ago. Is it a bad reflection on me for me to measure time in Veggie Tales videos? There are worse things for AJ (and me) to watch. And he's started asking for "Bob." He really means Larry, but whatever - it's a nice break from "Ta" (Thomas) or "May/Vroom vroom" (Mater from the movie Cars, although I think he really means Lightning McQueen - hence the "vroom vroom").

So there ya go...this is what I think of during the afternoons.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Home Again

So we drove back from NC today. Well over 5 hrs in a car, if you include the stop at one of VNB's college friends' houses to meet a new baby and all of the other pit stop breaks.

AJ slept for about 2.5 of those hours and pretty much entertained himself the rest of the time. We're still surprised, given that he screamed most of the way down there.

Still no word from NASA, although there are people on the Astronaut Hopefuls Yahoo! Group that have been asked to come down to interview without having their references checked. There's speculation that the selection office is trying to catch up from...well, the poster said Hurricane Rita, but I'm pretty sure they meant Gustav. Still a few weeks of hope.

Boy am I ready to not be pregnant anymore. I mean, I'm looking forward to Baby #2, but right now overpowering that is the desire to be done with pregnancy. I can't tell you how great it's been the last two days to have about half an hour of feeling "normal" before the morning (slight) nausea set in. But seriously...7.5 months of nearly constant nausea? Are you kidding me? Not to mention other stuff. I'm so ready to be done.

But in the meantime, AJ has decided that the baby is hungry, so he just finished sharing his chicken finger with the baby through my belly button.

Sunday, November 09, 2008

Blah, Blah, Blah

It's bad when on November 9th I already have nothing to say.

Well, right this second, Baby Jones has decided (for about the fiftieth time) to attempt an escape through my belly button. I keep pointing out to him/her that my belly button is _not_ the correct escape route, but s/he is not interested in my advice.

Saturday, November 08, 2008

Two Things I Learned Today...

So today we went to East Carolina's Homecoming today. After watching the homecoming parade, we tailgated, then when VNB and AJ went to the game with one of VNB's friends, I had the afternoon to myself.

There were two things I learned during the day:
1) Former band members are terrible at planning tailgates (especially when it's a group of women who are pregnant, little kids, seminary students, and random other people from InterVarsity). We just have no idea what goes on. I mean, we brought chairs and got food (Subway - not really "tailgate" food)...but the people around us just seemed more "tailgate-y" than us. We just have no idea what to do at a tailgate since we've never been to one ourselves.
2) If you're not taken up in the rapture, you need to have a harpoon, because as I read today, after the rapture there will be great "whaling" [sic] and gnashing of teeth. I think I laughed about that for about an hour...and still chuckle every time I think of it.

Friday, November 07, 2008

Done...

Ok...once I finish this post, I'll be ready to head out the door to go to NC to see the in-laws. The floors are swept, the trash is (about to be) taken out, the cat is fed, watered, and clean littered.

And now I've posted for today...

Thursday, November 06, 2008

Drug-Free Day Three!

So, while I'm definitely still feeling the "morning" sickness, Day Three was definitely do-able!

I was starting to get worried that I'd have the baby and still have issues with needing the Unisom. So woohoo!

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Drug Free, Day Two

So two nights ago, I just forgot to take my 1/4 tablet of Unisom (for the "morning" sickness that I still have). Yesterday was a pretty good day, so I didn't take it again last night. I didn't sleep all that well either night, but I didn't sleep a _whole_ lot worse than I normally do. (When it takes a crane to turn you over, you tend to wake up every time you do...which is often because there are 30 extra pounds weighing down on your hips...and then there's the indigestion...)

But the times that I've tried to go without the drugs, it was the second day that was the real killer. So we were kinda concerned that today would be awful.

But it wasn't.

Up till now, I haven't made it to day three, so we'll see how it goes tomorrow. I may be drug free, finally after almost 8 months! Woohoo!

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Hope Lives!

So I've long been a fan of Compassion, International. They're an organization that reaches children in poverty and helps them help themselves and their families out of it. They do it using local people who are working for the betterment of their own community with money donated by sponsors in the US and elsewhere. The child that you sponsor is not a "representative" child that fifty-thousand other people are "sponsoring." That child is unique to you and your family and for $32 a month is well-fed and schooled. They write you letters and you can write them back. You can even send them Christmas presents or other special things for their community or family.

Anyway, Compassion has recently gotten into blogging, thanks in no small part to Christian musician Shawn Groves. Currently, he and several other bloggers are in the Dominican Republic seeing the work that's being done there and opening themselves and Compassion up to the world through the various blogs. They're also sponsoring their first ever blog contest! So here's my entry describing how hope lives in my life.

Ever since I was young, my favorite Bible verse has been Psalm 30:5b "Weeping may endure for a night, but Joy comes in the morning" (that's the Leia Standard Version, btw). Whenever anything "bad" has happened in my life, that verse has been my mainstay because, not only does it give me hope for this life (i.e., as Scarlett says, "Tomorrow is another day!"), but it reminds me of the hope that I have for my eternal life after I die here on Earth.

When I was going through my various breast lumps and wondering if at 23 I had breast cancer, I knew no matter what I was going to have to deal with, that God would be there with me through it all...and even if I died of cancer, I was gonna go to heaven, so woohoo!

When I lived and worked in Baghdad, I knew that, even if I were kidnapped or worse, that God would be with me through it all, and even if I died, God would be glorified through my death (as he was through the deaths of my friends), and I was gonna go to heaven, so woohoo! While others in my company wanted to hunker down and stay in our office instead of going out and actually _helping_ people, I was ready to go out to the "dark" places because of that hope.

More recently, when Baby Jones' first sonogram showed a "soft marker" for Trisomy-18 (a genetic disorder which only very rarely allows the baby to make it to term, much less live outside the womb), the only thing that kept us sane was the knowledge that God was in control. It wouldn't make the loss of this little one hurt any less, but we could rest in the knowledge that God had a plan even for the shortest of lives, and that He would be glorified through it all. And we were happy to give Him the praise when the follow-up sonogram showed no signs of anything other than a healthy baby!

Hope lives in my life because I can look back across the years and see clearly where God has taken care of all of my needs (and those of my family) and given me so much more than I could ever ask or imagine along the way. Knowing that He's always done that in the past, I can rest assured that He will continue to do so in the future.

As Bill and Gloria Gaither said, "Because He lives I can face tomorrow. Because He lives all fear is gone. Because I know Who holds the future. My life is worth the living just because He lives."

Monday, November 03, 2008

Pregnancy and Astronaut Selection

So in searching for info about where the selection process was, I came across a Yahoo! group for Astronaut hopefuls. I very quickly joined and posted my question to the group: "Do I call the selection office and call attention to myself and my pregnancy (and maybe get on their "one of _those_ people" list for bugging them) or do I just wait until my references have been contacted and _then_ raise the issue?"

The resounding answer was to go ahead and call them. Second to that was the information that pregnancy medically disqualifies you from the selection process. So, I no longer want to go down to Houston in November with the _first_ group of interviewees, I now want to go down in January with the _last_ group of interviewees. That way I won't be medically disqualified (since I'll no longer be preggers), and I'll have as long as possible to heal (and lose weight) post-partum before the first set of medical tests.

When they contact your references, they also tell you to get something similar to a Class II flight physical (what's necessary for getting a pilot's license). I had to get one long ago in order to fly on the KC-135 (the "Vomit Comet") and the only thing I remember from that which might disqualify me would be the baby weight. I remember a hearing test (which I only just barely passed due to a MD men's basketball game that I'd been in the pep band for the night before), a vision test...I guess I had to get a pap smear...blood pressure, etc. Anyway, nothing active, you just had to seem like you were in good health to the qualified doc who had to clear you. And you couldn't be considered "overweight," which may be my downfall.

Anyway, I called the selection office (who didn't say that I had no shot) and they suggested that I talk to the flight docs to see what they say since there will be so little time for healing post-partum, even if I'm in the last group. She transferred me and I left a message for the clinic nurses. We'll see if/when they get back to me. If my references _are_ checked and they haven't gotten back to me by then, I'll call the selection office again to see if I can get a direct line for a specific flight doc rather than just the main JSC clinic number.

But in good news, it didn't seem like an imposition at all for me to have called, so I don't _think_ I'm on their "one of _those_ people" list. At least not yet.

We're trying to teach AJ what "later" and "wait" mean. Sucks that I have to learn those over again too...

Sunday, November 02, 2008

Wide Eyes

So AJ was "playing" with the baby a few minutes ago (kissing, sharing the sippy, peek-a-boo, etc.) when the baby started kicking. AJ was somewhat occupied, so I grabbed one of his hands and put it where the baby was kicking.

All of the sudden, he stopped whatever he was doing, and looked up at me with the biggest eyes I've ever seen. His mouth was a nice "o" shape too. I think it kinda wigged him out a little.

But a few minutes later, he put the baby "to bed" (i.e., pulled my shirt back down), then pulled my shirt back up, and put his hand on my belly. His eyes got big again (the baby wasn't moving as much) and he whimpered, but then put his hand on again.

I wonder how much he understands when I talk about the baby. That's got to be a completely foreign concept to him. I've never wanted to know exactly what someone else is thinking as much as I do with him. What thoughts go through his head? Are they more like what comes out of his mouth, or like Stewie from "Family Guy" (hopefully minus the thoughts of matricide and world domination)? I mean, I doubt he's thinking about Schrodinger's equations or something, but what does he think about all day? What goes through his little head?

Anyway, I guess I'm gonna try to NaBloPoMo, but I'm not gonna knock myself out if I miss a day.

Saturday, November 01, 2008

NaBloPoMo

So it's National Blog Posting Month again. I haven't decided yet whether or not I really want to plan to do this. I mean, I didn't make it last year, primarily due to travel at Thanksgiving. I _probably_ won't be travelling then this year, but we _are_ visiting family in NC next weekend and theoretically, I could be in Houston at some point this month.

Of course, that's assuming I ever hear from NASA! I'm going a little nutty with the waiting. I was looking at their timeline the other day and realized that there's sort of a 0th cut. In September and October, they cut the total number down to the "Highly Qualified" applicants. Then in October and November, they cut the "Highly Qualified" down to the 120 interviewees who are interviewed in November, December, and January. So I would _hope_ that since I haven't heard that I'm definitely out, that it means that I've at least made it in to the "Highly Qualified" category. But I don't know that for sure.

So let's Google to see if anyone else has heard anything...

Ok...so yay for more info...boo for what it said....apparently, they don't send you a letter at each step. They're in the process of cutting it down to about 400 (the "highly qualified"). Some references have already been contacted (mine have not, to the best of my knowledge and considering that one of my references is a good family friend who's promised that she'll tell me if she gets contacted, I'm pretty sure I'd know). But other than hearing that your references were contacted by mail and getting a telephone call to arrange your interview, you don't hear one way or the other until the very end of the process (May of 2009!!!) that you're out. Apparently it's a very nice letter that they send you, but it boggles my mind that they don't just let you know whenever you're out. Maybe that gives them the opportunity to uncut someone without hassle.

Anyway, this is what some guy named Brian says about the process timeline. He's got some graphs and everything.

Makes me wonder if I shouldn't contact the astronaut selection office to explain my condition and request that if they're going to contact my references that they do so ASAP so that I can actually come down for the interview...

The good news is the scuttlebutt that those who aren't qualified (the less-than-0th cut, apparently) are contacted. I haven't been told that I'm not qualified, so I'm still in as far as I know. There were about 730 of those folks, so there are about 2800 "qualified" people that they're going to cut to 400 for the "highly qualified" group. They'll contact the references of all the "highly qualified" to enable them to cut it down to 120 interviewees. But apparently they start interviewing prior to getting through all of the references, etc. So interviews start Nov. 17th, even though they're still theoretically contacting references through the end of the month.

This is _way_ too complicated. Good thing I'm a rocket scientist.

So anyway...NaBloPoMo...I still haven't decided...but I figured I'd better post today just in case I decide that I'm going to try again this year....

Friday, October 31, 2008

Cute Overload

So we've been doing what we can to prepare AJ for the new baby. He's still a 'little' young to really understand anything, but we do our best. Whenever he sees my belly, we talk about the baby in it. Whenever we see another baby, we talk about the baby we'll be bringing home soon, etc. Mostly we try to convince him that his belly isn't named "baby" like Mama's is.

Originally, I'd planned to mess with him a little (hey, he's _my_ kid - if _I_ can't screw him up, no one's allowed to!) by teaching him that my belly button was the microphone that he needed to talk through in order to speak to the baby. That was _way_ too advanced a concept for him this go 'round (maybe next time?! Or will he be too old then?). So we've stuck with just pointing out babies and talking about babies and how we're going to have one soon.

But usually if you ask him where the baby is, he'll point to my belly. And often when I'm sitting on the couch, he'll ask to "see" the baby (or ask where the baby is), and we'll play peek-a-boo with my belly button (this can become rather embarrasing when I'm wearing a dress). If you ask him to kiss the baby, I'll get a bunch of slobber on my belly (good for moisturizing? Stretch mark repair serum? Maybe I should bottle his drool and sell it...).

But his favorite thing lately has been to give the baby a drink from his sippy cup. He puts the cup up to my belly button, then I make slurping sounds and thank him for sharing with the baby. He figured this out all on his own.

That's our boy - _way_ too smart, _way_ too sweet, and _way_ too cute!

Friday, October 17, 2008

Who needs sleep?

So have you ever gotten into bed sleepy, with the thought that you've got as close to a perfect life as it gets...only to then remember that you might get to achieve your life-long dream of being an astronaut too?

I mean, seriously...I've gone on and on about how good God is to me before...but really...life can hardly get any better than it is right now. Does that seem an odd thing to say in the middle of a financial crisis in our country? I've got a wonderful husband who has his quirks, but who takes excellent care of me and who loves me very much. I've got the cutest, smartest, sweetest baby outside of a uterus right now...and another one (who is also the cutest, smartest, and sweetest - yes they can both share the titles) inside my uterus right now. We've got jobs, we've got savings, we've got a mortgage that we can handle for the foreseeable future, we've got minimal non-mortgage debt, we've got cars that work, we've got supportive families that love us, we've got a circle of friends who love us and pray for us, we've got a good church, and a cat named Monkey. I mean, seriously, what more could you ask for?

And I might get to be an astronaut too...

Yeah...break out the Farscape DVDs...there's no sleep for me for a while tonight...

Monday, October 06, 2008

Addiction?

So when I was horribly, unendingly ill at the beginning of this pregnancy, I decided to go the OTC route and "just" take vitamin B-6 and Unisom. For some reason unknown to science, this combination of drugs helps with nausea. No one's really sure why. Some speculate that it's a vitamin B deficiency that causes it...but no one really knows.

In my case, I found out after just a few months that the B-6 wasn't really doing that much for me, so I stopped taking it around the time I was starting to feel better. Since I don't really like taking _anything_ (and especially not the infamous "sleeping pills"), I was really far more concerned about the Unisom than the B-6. So about the time I cut out the B-6, I starting cutting the Unisoms in half. That transition went surprisingly well.

When I started feeling even better, I tried going one day on, one day off the half-dose of Unisom. That transition didn't go so well (I could tell a definite difference between the days that I'd taken it and the days that I hadn't), so instead I started cutting them into ~fourths. I've been doing that for a while now, so I thought maybe I could stop altogether.

Well, after hardly sleeping at all last night (my first night without - although, really, it's not like I've been sleeping _well_ lately, so last night wasn't _that_ much different), the morning didn't go all that badly. I felt a little "off," but really nothing that different from recent mornings. But around lunchtime I spent a second too long in AJ's room (where the combined smells are: dirty diapers, cat litter, cat food, an air freshener, and various un-lit but still pungent candles). Really, the smell wasn't that bad...but the combination was just enough that for the first time in several months (I think - I mean, there's been a morning dry heave or two, but no real food loss in quite a while), I saw my breakfast and morning snack all over again. It wasn't fun, especially with Baby now big enough to be pushing on my bladder with every heave.

Now I'm back to hungry, but not all that desirous of eating. I guess that's better than the last week or so when I just haven't been hungry.

But I think I'll wait a little while longer before I try stopping the Unisom again. I don't think I can cut the pills any smaller and crushed Unisom tastes _AWFUL_ (although not as bad as metronidazole - just trust me, it's nasty).

I will be _VERY_ glad when these extra hormones are gone and I feel "normal" again. Although I'm beginning to be concerned that at some point I'm just going to have to suck it up and go cold turkey on the Unisom - that's it's not a "morning sickness" thing anymore, that it's become a physical dependence. Which is exactly the reason I was leery of it in the first place.

Arg.

"Just" 11 more weeks. I can make it. We're almost to single digits!

Monday, September 29, 2008

10-15 out of 3,535

So according to Air & Space magazine, I am one of 3,535 people from which 10-15 will ultimately be chosen. Chosen for what, you ask?

Well, last September I got an email from a former boss which said "now's the time" with a link to a news article - an article about NASA accepting astronaut applications again. After confirming that he did, indeed think that I should apply, I got my references in order (it's really nice to be family friends with the software manager for Hubble repair missions and to have worked for one of the associate administrators of NASA who also just happens to be a former Shuttle pilot and commander (and who just got inducted into the astronaut hall of fame)!), found all of my medical records, updated my resume, sent in my school transcripts, and on Christmas Eve, submitted my complete application.

So why are you only hearing about this now? Well, the vacancy announcement didn't close until the end of June...and since the school transcripts had to be mailed in, they had to give ample time for everything to get to their office, so they didn't actually start considering anyone until the beginning of September. I figured that no one would want to hear "well, it's not even under consideration yet" for most of a year, so I held off. Plus, shortly after submitting my application, there were lots of vomit stories to tell, which were _much_ more exciting than "nope, not yet..."

Sometime in July or August, I got a post card from the Astronaut Selection office saying that they had my completed application and I'd be hearing from them in the future. Well, as they say, "the future is (potentially) now." They're currently going through the 3,535 applications and making their first cut. They'll cut out folks who don't qualify at all, and then cut it down more so that there are about 120 folks. These people will be called to come to Houston in groups of 20 in November, December, and January for interviews and medical tests.

So, assuming I make that first cut, they'll be getting a call from me asking if they would allow me to come in the first group since Baby's coming in December and will be here in January! Hopefully they'll be flexible!

After the interviews are completed, they'll make a second cut from the 120 down to about 40. These folks will be called back to Houston in February and March for more extensive medical screenings. If I make that second cut, they'll be getting another call from me asking that I be in the LAST group to give me more time to get back into shape after the baby comes! So many astronauts are running/fitness nuts. As much as I like to be "shapely," I'm far from a nut about running or biking (or whatever) miles and miles every day! Especially 2-3 months post-partum!

After those final screenings are finished, they'll make their final cut down to 10-15 people (depending on how many active astronauts are left at that point - they expect a good bit of attrition due to the expected retirement of the Shuttle fleet in 2010), about 1/3 of which will be minorities and/or women. Assuming I make _that_ cut, we'll find out in March or so and will be expected to report in Houston in August.

So, what are my chances? Well, 3535 applicants for (let's say) 15 spots...given that 1/3 of the chosen will be women and let's say that at most 50% of the applicants are women...all applicants being equal, I have a chance of approximately 5 in 1767 or about 1 in 353.

Honestly, those odds aren't quite as bad as I was expecting (this was the first time I'd actually done any calculations).

But all applicants _aren't_ equal. The average age for an astronaut is somewhere in their 40s. I'm in my early 30s. Many "mission specialist" astronauts (the non-pilot folks like me) tend to have multiple advanced degrees. I have one MS and no PhD. And most folks who become astronauts apply multiple times before being selected (there's even one guy who applied 15 times before being selected!!!!!). This is my first application.

But on the plus side, I believe that my work experience uniquely qualifies me for the expected work for astronauts of the 2009 class. The folks selected in this class of astronauts will not fly on the Shuttle (unless something _drastic_ happens with Russia and the Shuttle program has to be extended past 2010). They will go to the ISS and will fly on the CEV. Well, my experience as a risk analyst for both the ISS and the CEV means that I have a good amount of knowledge about those systems already (especially the life support systems since that was my area of expertise on both contracts, although I have a good general working knowledge of the other systems as well). On top of that, we used the astronaut training manuals and a lot of operational procedures and rules as our main sources of information. This gives me a leg up on the training aspect, but it also makes me more 'well-rounded' than many engineer types who are more focused on the technical aspects than the operational aspects of missions.

And all of that's not to mention my time at the research lab where I worked as an undergrad (a neutral buoyancy tank like they use for astronaut training) and getting to fly twice already on the "Vomit Comet" (another training tool). I even think that my time overseas was a bit like training - I was never allowed to be really alone (there was always a security guard and/or driver with me whenever I went anywhere), I was very limited in where I could go and what I could do (not to mention learning another language), and I was separated by vast distances from friends and family. I may not have been weightless or confined in really, really close quarters with anyone (although it sure seemed that way sometimes), but there were definitely aspects of my time there that were similar to what I'll (hopefully) experience someday on a space mission.

So will I get selected? In sha'allah (God willing).

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

It Could Have Been SOOOOO Much Worse...

So AJ's learning boundaries, both literally and figuratively. He HATES it when I put up the baby gates, so I usually only do it when he's having trouble obeying the "stay where Mama can see you" command (ment). He'd been doing pretty well this morning, so the gate to the bedrooms/bathroom hallway was still down.

But then he disappeared for a few minutes. He came back when I told him to though, so I didn't think much of it until I saw him munching on something. I didn't have my glasses on, so I couldn't tell at all what it was - all I could tell was that it was brown and indistinguishable. So I told him to take it out of his mouth and bring it to Mama, which he did with reasonable speed.

So he hands me this brown, slightly curved, cat-poo looking, slightly damp object with little bits of what seriously looked like used cat litter on it. This, of course, concerned me, not only because it would appear that my kid had just tried to eat poo (at least he'd spat it out rather quickly and willingly), but also because it looked like my cat had eaten a baby wipe prior to pooping it out and my kid eating it.

So we said "yuck" a lot between us (me especially since I thought I was holding the poo and "food" of two mammals in one slightly damp package) and I wiped as much of the "yuck" off of his tongue and face as I could (all the while wondering what you do for a kid who just ate poo. I mean, you can't exactly bleach his mouth out or anything. Well, not without permanent damage.).

Then I remembered my tea cup that he'd moved to just out of sight shortly after I'd finished with it. Prior to moving the cup, he'd played with the tea bag until I told him to put it down (which he also obeyed (at least for a while) with alacrity). So then I smelled the "poo" and was happily greeted by the sweet scent of raspberries with a touch of lemon.

So not only have we apparently avoided the "poo eating" episode that I'm sure happens in every home with a litter box...at least so far this morning...but AJ has also probably taught himself not to eat tea bags!

Yes, this could have been SOOOOOOOOOOOOO much worse....

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Random Irony

Ok, so VNB and I were in bed two nights ago, flipping through channels before falling asleep, and he kept switching between the Democratic National Convention (Sen. Clinton's speech) and Star Wars: Revenge of the Sith (Episode III) on Spike.

He and I both found it ironic that her speech coincided with Anakin killing off the younglings in the Jedi temple and Sen. Palpatine declaring himself the Emperor - both for the "good of the Republic."

We really wondered about the programming director on Spike. Did s/he plan that? Because I mean...seriously...

Definitely made us giggle.

Breakthrough of a Different Sort

Not talking about teeth this time. He's got a mouthful of choppers already - the canines are the last to come in. I guess he's supposed to get another set of molars eventually, but I don't know where they'll fit.

Anyway...

Before I got pregnant again and horribly, miserably sick for 3+ months, AJ was doing pretty well with eating at least a little of what Momma and Daddy were eating for dinner. He was big into green beans and would eat rice dishes with some regularity. Then I was horribly, miserably sick for 3+ months. It was a good day when there was food for him to eat (and us - preferably without me barfing it back up later) and his diaper got changed a couple of times (again, preferably without me barfing). So while we'd been edging away from the little plastic Gerber containers, the horrible, miserable sickness cured us of that. And AJ got VERY used to eating from the little plastic Gerber containers. He was never a fan of their "Stage 3" stuff, so we didn't waste time or money on those and stuck with "Stage 2."

Well, now that the horrible, miserable sickness seems to have passed for the most part (although I'm still weaning myself off the drugs - who knew Unisom did so much for nausea?), and I'm coming out from under the dark cloud of months-on-end of feeling and being sick (not to mention gas prices and everything else spiking during all of that, making me feel guilty for not doing my part in cutting down on household expenses), I realized that not only was he pretty much only eating the Gerber mush, that was ALL he would eat anymore. Don't get me wrong, the occasional kid's meal chicken nuggets and french fries would still usually get eaten, as would peanut butter sandwiches and the occasional grilled cheese...but you can't eat peanut butter every day and grilled cheese involves cooking and dishes and while I'm feeling better, I'm still never going to like causing myself work, even for a grilled cheese.

So we tried the "eat this or eat nothing" for dinner tactic. He just loaded up at breakfast and lunch the next day. We tried the "airplane coming into the hangar" tactic. It'd make him laugh, and occasionally we'd get a rice grain or two down the gullet, but it never made the hangar doors open indefinitely. We tried the "stuff it into your mouth and hold your mouth closed until you swallow it" tactic. But dude has some STRONG jaw muscles and that mostly just made us both mad.

Well two nights ago we had a break through. It was essentially mac and cheese, except that there was chicken and broccoli in it too. And there was corn on the side. And he wouldn't touch any of them. But he had leftover raisins from his afternoon snack still on the table that I was ok with him finishing. He was eating them, but I was bored and we were talking about eyes and ears and other exciting toddler talk, so I decided I'd make a smiley face out of the raisins. Then we ate his eyes and his ears and his mouth and it was fun. That gave me an epiphany. So I put the pasta on the same plate in the same face shape. It took a little more convincing, but eventually he ate the two eyes from my hand, then got down from my lap, finished eating the face I made, then went to town cleaning out the bowl all on his own with NO encouragement from Momma and Daddy!

Then last night, he just started eating his spaghetti. No rigamarole. He _did_ steal one of my meatballs (and would have stolen more if I hadn't eaten them all), but I was ok with that. We'll see if the eating continues with peace. Here's hoping, because those little Gerber things get expensive.

Friday, August 15, 2008

Good Gracious Sakes Alive...

I don't know who still checks this. I've been off the air for so long that I doubt many do. And if you do, I don't (necessarily) know where you stand politically. But where ever you are politically, whomever you're planning on voting for, you need to go to Google (or some other such search engine) and enter the words "Illinois infanticide law" (without the quotes). This will bring up internet traffic from both sides of the abortion issue concerning Sen. Obama's lack of support for a "Born Alive Liability" bill that made its way three separate times through the Illinois senate legislative process while he was an Illinois state senator.

I'm not going to pontificate on this, mostly because my wee one still in utero is exactly the age of the babies they're talking about.

God help us. And God have mercy on Sen. Obama, no matter what his reasons.

Friday, August 01, 2008

Success?

So I have succeeded where VNB failed. While he _almost_ totalled my car, I have succeeded. Is that looking on the bright side?

AJ and I were on our way from his doctor's appointment (bug bite that wouldn't go away, but thankfully isn't Lyme's disease) to baby sibling's sonogram when I realized that I was about to miss the exit. I cleared the semi next to me, but then found another car next to him that I wasn't going to clear, so I swerved back to the left, and in trying to regain control swerved back to the right...where the semi's front left bumper found my rear right one.

AJ had just fallen asleep, so all it did was wake him up (he was a little nervous getting back into a car later that night, but he's gotten over that, thankfully). I haven't even been sore other than just from the adrenaline rush (no air bags involved). The guy in the semi might have lost his job (he was new to that company and so was on probation), but was unhurt and assured me later that he'd be able to find another job with no problem (so pray for him that that works out). And the baby was pretty much normal in all regards (with the same due date) as per the sonogram that we got to a little late. But the car, she is totalled. Officially. No way to wiggle out of it.

So, if you're going to have a car accident while pregnant, have it when you're on your way to a sonogram because it means that your husband will be nearby to speak coherently for you and it will give you added peace of mind that your unborn baby is ok when you get to see them showing off their hands and feet for the "camera." Someday "soon" I'll scan those pics and show them off. They should let you bring in a flash drive and just copy the pics onto that so we don't have to deal with the whole scanning thing.

Anyway, so we'll be used car shopping over the weekend, hoping to find something with gas mileage equal to or greater than my poor 2001 Ford Escape (it usually averaged about 25mpg which is really good for a SUV, and not that bad for a sedan, really) that I don't mind driving (I really just don't like driving sedans anymore, although stepping up into our Escapes has been becoming increasingly difficult). And we'll be hoping against hope that whatever this "nused" car costs, it'll be less than what USAA will give us for my old one. While still being reliable. And economical.

Oh, and to the "Princess Leia" in TN who has an outstanding warrant for bank fraud? There are some MD Transit Authority cops who almost took me in for fingerprinting and possible extradition to TN because of you. Fortunately, my SSN doesn't match yours and the cops were feeling generous to the crying pregnant lady who'd just been in a car accident with her toddler son. But they know you're out there and they're looking for you!

Thursday, July 03, 2008

THIS is Parenting

So since AJ's started being FASCINATED by anything violent or negative on TV, we've switched from watching whatever was on USA in the mornings to whatever's on PBS. Yes, I've succumbed to the world of "kids television." And I don't mind, really. Barney's not so bad, really, especially when followed with a chaser of Mister Rogers.

Especially when during Barney's closing credits, AJ gets an uncontrollable urge to dance (which means stomp his feet and clap, not anywhere close to in time with the music). Unfortunately, he was holding a ring from one of his stacker toys (the parent police put you in parent jail if a toddler's household doesn't contain at least one ring stacker toy - we have two, just for good measure). That prevented him from clapping like he had to do. So instead of putting it down on the floor (like everything else) or on the table that was between us, he insisted on handing it to me. After which he proceeded to dance in the cutest way possible to the Barney end credits music.

Then, when Mister Rogers came on, he spent the entire opening song ("It's a neighborly day in the neighborhood...") waving 'hello' at Mister Rogers.

These are the sweet moments that make it all worthwhile.

This next one had better be a world of cute. They're sure going to have a lot to overcome in the "making it all worthwhile" department.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Works For Me Wednesday: Not Couponing (for now)

It's been a long time since my last WFMW post. I think that's mostly because I wasn't feeling very social added to the fact that I couldn't remember what ideas I'd already posted and was too lazy to go back and check.

But even if I don't participate, Shannon over at Rocks in My Dryer always hosts WFMW and there are always _HUNDREDS_ of ideas.

Anyway, so we all know by now that I've been uber-sick lately. Adding my uber ("morning") sickness to my natural non-cleaning tendencies and an extra super-dooper sensitivity to smells and you end up with a house that's even messier than normal, especially the kitchen (opening the fridge to get AJ's juice a couple of times a day was more than I could handle many days - and even walking past the sink is often still a chore).

As I'm starting to feel a little better, I'm attempting to re-tame the beast. I still haven't even thought about cleaning the kitchen (although I sometimes manage to throw out the trash and recycling that has collected), but I've been working my way towards keeping the living room tidy-ish and have done my semi-regular straightening of AJ's room. The dirty laundry is at least in the hamper and the clean stuff is folded, if not put away yet. So I'm getting there, slowly, but surely.

One thing that's helped at least the last few days has been me allowing myself to NOT coupon. I already feel bad enough with the messy house and the days where I could barely keep AJ fed, watered, and dry-ish. I also felt guilty that, when I could manage to get to a store and buy groceries, I wasn't making sure I was getting the best deals. Not to mention the fact that I was collecting coupons to clip, but never clipping them and if I did manage to clip them, they never got sorted and stored....which meant a pile of paper for AJ to toss everywhere over and over again....which meant more mess.

So the other day I made an executive decision. When I feel well enough to keep the house clean, I'll start up with the couponing again. In the meantime, I've absolved myself of the guilt of not couponing (and therefore the mess of paper that comes with it). I've got enough to worry about. I can let go of this for now. And it's ok. Not only that, but it "works for me!"

Friday, June 13, 2008

Creating a Monster

So one of the first things AJ did when he came home from the hospital was sit with his daddy and watch daddy's trains. Apparently that was the first step towards creating a choo-choo monster. Our pediatrician has one of those wooden train sets in her office. AJ _SCREAMS_ when we have to leave the trains to go into her office, even though she has fun toys there too. When we find a Thomas set in a store, he _SCREAMS_ when we have to leave. I'm not talking frustration or upset. I'm talking full-scale 'terrible twos' temper tantrum. At 17 months (or less, we saw the sets in the store last Christmas - he wasn't even one yet!).

Well today we had a little late morning (we (he) didn't wake up for real until 10:30!!!), so he's getting to see shows on PBS kids that he hasn't gotten to see in a while, like Mr. Rogers. The minute Mr. Rogers came on the screen, AJ started pointing and saying "choo choo!" And then got frustrated as it went longer and longer before he saw the choo choo. And now that they're _in_ The Neighborhood of Make Believe, he's upset that the choo choo's gone again! And gets excited when they show the castle with the train track in front of it.

But every time he sees Mr. Rogers himself, he just points and says "choo choo, choo choo." I don't know that we've ever purposely associated Mr. Rogers with choo choos, but obviously AJ has.

Just like he associates the TiVo with Thomas episodes. He gets all excited when daddy comes home and watches stuff on the TiVo...until he realizes that the stuff daddy's watching isn't his Thomas and Friends episodes that he gets to watch when mommy's taking a shower.

My mom sent him a bunch of clothes that we finally got through the wash last week. As it was sorted in piles in the living room waiting to be washed, AJ found all of the various pieces that had choo choos on them (several since my mom knows how much he like his trains). He kept picking those up and pointing to the choo choo. I can't imagine what he's going to be like when he actually wears them. One is a set of Thomas pajamas. I'm not sure he's going to sleep with those on.

Now he's mad because Reading Rainbow is on. And it doesn't have trains. Usually. Yay for a subway episode!

We've created a monster.